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Detroit Doctor Accused of Performing Female Genital Mutilation Surgeries
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Jumana Nagarwala

Summary: A Detroit physician has been charged with performing female genital mutilation surgeries on a number of girls aged six to eight.

A Detroit emergency room physician at Henry Ford Hospital has been charged with performing genital mutilation surgery on several young girls. The criminal complaint claims that Jumana Nagarwala performed the procedures on girls between six- and eight-years-old, with two confirmed cases but they believe many more girls were victimized by Nagarwala.

  
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Nagarwala, 44, was arrested for allegedly performing the surgeries at a medical clinic in Livonia, a Detroit suburb. The graduate of the medical school at John Hopkins University does not work at the clinic “and there is no record of her billing for medical procedures there,” according to investigators.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said, “Despite her oath to care for her patients, Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulernable of victims. The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse.”

The criminal complaint charges the doctor with multiple felonies for performing the mutilation surgery common for those of a certain religion, of which Nagarwala is a member of. The specific cases claim that a pair of girls traveled from Michigan to Minnesota in order to see the doctor in February. A forensic interviewer met with the girls, one of which told the interviewer that she was brought to the city for a “special” girls trip. She explained that she and the other girl visited Nagarwala because “our tummies hurt.” The child added that a procedure was performed while at the clinic “to get the germs out.”

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The other girl told the interviewer that “her parents told her the procedure is a secret and that she is not supposed to talk about it,” adding that she “could barely walk, and the felt pain all the way down to her ankle.”

FBI investigators have discovered other children “who may have been victimized by Nagarwala.” A number of girls from Michigan were interviewed by federal agents, stating that “procedures had been performed on their genitals” by the doctor.



Nagarwala claims she has never performed such surgeries, of which she is aware is illegal. FBI Agent Kevin Swanson noted in the affidavit that female genital mutilation surgery is performed by “some members of a particular religious and cultural community” like Muslim communities in the Middle East and Africa as a “cleansing”. A purpose of the surgery is to “curb the sexuality of girls and women by making sex painful.” The actual procedure removes some or all of the female’s external genitalia, often without the use of anesthesia.

Nagarwala is to appear in a U.S. District Court in Detroit today to face the charges of female genital mutilation, transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and lying to a federal officer. She is the first person to be charged under federal law 18 U.S.C. 116, criminalizing the procedure as a felony. The law states that anyone who knowingly circumcises, excises or infibulates the whole or any part of the external female genitalia of a minor “shall be fined or imprisoned not more than 5 years – or both.” The 2013 census by the Population Reference Bureau alleges that around 500,000 women and girls in the US have either had the surgery or are at risk for it to be performed. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt pledged $100,000 of his money to stop the brutal practice.

Michigan state records show that Nagarwala received her medical license in 2001 and has never had any disciplinary actions against her.

Do you think Nagarwala should lose her medical license? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about doctors violating their oath, read these articles:

Photo: Henry Ford Hospital



 

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